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Archive for the ‘photo repair’ Category

Dont replace the background

When i get old photos that need to be restored and the photo is tattered and torn, with a stained and faded background, perhaps with cracks and tears, it would be very tempting to replace it.

Short answer don’t!

Frankly I am not a fan of this practice. Most are done very badly, with the old, ‘render clouds’ filter and then over blurred with no attempt to match the grain.

Take time to repair the scratches, and tears, correct the fading and stains and when your done with the initial clean up you may find it hasn’t improved that much. Try experimenting with the dust and scratches filter to even out the tones in the background. Then when you have found a setting that works, add a layer mask and reveal the restored image through the cleaned background. You may need to match in some grain at this final stage. The background should now look much more convincing than if you simply used a filter to produce some random, over smoothed clouds.

Can panorama images be restored

Photographers have been taking Panoramas for years, school photos and groups of large people were often shot in panorama, army, navy, military groups and schools. The longest so far I have restored is 53 inches wide!, 7 inches short of the widest print I can have made. The subject was the 17 windmills of Kinderdijk – Kinderdyke in Holland. The photographer had shot the scene on wide format film, at a guess on 6cm roll film and used a rotating camera to turn the film and the camera head at the same time to expose a length of film long enough to produce a photo 53 x 10 inches long. Alas it was left outside in the rain in the frame and stuck to the glass and had to be scraped off in order to be scanned. After intense restoration and at 47 Million pixels it was re printed on high quality archive ink jet paper. I am sorry but at present I have not had permission to display the photo.

Close up detail of 53 inch panorama

Typical damage right across the whole panorama.

Right side close up detail of 53 inch panorama

The above is a small section from the far right hand side of the panorama showing just how detailed it is!

Panorama after restoration

Shows restored photo and highlighted red section shown above

Panorama of Kynderdyke on

More often photos of regiments, war photos,  pupils in the entire school were photographed in this manner. Normally this type of photo is stored rolled up and in the loft. Moisture in the air and the constant heat and cold will have made the paper brittle, so when it is unrolled it may crack. Be careful it may break up. Should you decide to get it restored then it will have to be unrolled to be scanned. If you are posting it please put the rolled photo into a piece of large diameter tube, a carpet roll is best, or roll loosely and put in a card board box, padded out with tissue. A reunion of old army fellows, or royal navy chums often calls for the photos to be pulled out from storage but be prepared for some damage to be evident but do not fear as they can be restored. If there are many faces in the image, perhaps as many as 500 or more and the damage runs through the faces then the image can take some time and money to restore. If complete faces are missing and fully restored photo is required then the only way to fill in the gaps is with another face.

  • Yes Panorama images can be restored
  • Post them rolled up in a carpet tube
  • They will cost much more than a normal 10×8 to restore
  • They will be re reprinted on archive quality paper with archive inks up to 60 inches wide

For more on scanning and stitching large images see scanning and stitching large images blog post and how to unroll rolled up photos

I hope this helps, thanks for reading


Restoring pet photographs

Restoring photos of your pets is just as important as restoring photos of your family. Well they are family aren’t they. Here I am showing the progress through restoring photo a dog.

Restoring pet photos

The photo is heavily damaged but with some careful thought it can be restored.

Restoring pet photos

The dogs toe pad has been replaced with the large black foot pad but scaled down and rotated and squashed. Above that some shadow has been cloned into the white space as in picture 1

Restoring pet photos

You can see the muzzle has been cleaned up a bit here, using the patch tool and clone tools.

Restoring pet photos

I have also copied the yellow dog toy from the left and pasted it to the right. I pasted again and flipped the yellow ball and with the patch and clone rebuilt the right hand side of the toy. I made sure there was some flash shadow around the ball in a slightly red tinted shadow to match the other side.

Restoring pet photos

Finished cleaning up the muzzle and shadow underneath with clone tools and patch.

Restoring pet photos

Here I have used the left side of the leg and clone upward towards the ball. I flipped this leg edge and used it for the right side.

Fortunately the customer had another photo of the dog lying down and I able to distort and warp the rear leg to replace much of the missing leg.

Restoring pet photos

From the second photo I was able to use some belly fur and shade it with the dodge and burn tools. I added some flash shadows behind the newly added leg parts.

Restoring pet photos

I reduced the red tint to the back and grey sofa and zoomed out for the finished product.

Hopefully you will look after your photos and not need to get your pet photos restored.

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